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New and exciting things are always happening in Portland, Oregon. It's the birthplace of Clark & Mayfield, and a city we are proud to call home. These days, innovative companies continue to pop up in this city, and we're especially keen on those who strive to make a positive impact. Here are just a few Portland-based, non-profit start ups we think you might want to pay attention to.

Wayfinding Academy is providing an alternative model for higher education by helping students who aren't sure what they want to do with their life and don't want to amass large amounts of student loan debt trying to figure it out. Expecting their first students to start classes in Portland in Fall 2016, this non-profit college is getting off the ground through a crowdfunding campaign.

ActionSprout is the leading Facebook tool for causes. This Facebook app, used by the likes of Sierra Club and UNICEF, helps charities post mobile-optimized petitions and donation appeals so they can effectively engage more supporters. Started in Portland, this company is well on its way to making an impact.

PDX Shelter is a mobile app seeking to bring real-time information about homeless shelters to those who need it most. 70% of homeless youth have access to smartphones. This app will connect them with resources, show shelter bed availability, and streamline the intake process for under-staffed shelters. The project will start in Portland and hopes to expand to other cities.

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  • Lauri DeLaczay